Sask. group using bras to support women's health in Africa –

The packing is getting overwhelming, Danielle Gauthier said. Her living room floor is covered by eight large hockey bags.

“I look like a hockey team lives in here,” she said laughing. “But it’s going very well. We’re very excited.”

The Regina woman is part of a team that is taking more than 2000 bras to Africa to use as a jumping off point to talk about women’s health. 

“The bras are like an incentive to come, to have the women come and to discuss women’s health. Breast exams, a lot of the women don’t know or have not even given themselves a breast exam,” Gauthier said.

This isn’t the first time they’ve taken bras on the trip, but they broke their record as in 2018 they had 1600. On April 21st, they’ll travel to Uganda and Tanzania.

Eight hockey bags are currently filled to transport the bras from Canada to Africa. (Submitted by Danielle Gauthier)

The team then talks to the women about what to do if they find a lump, they talk about diabetes, blood pressure, among other topics the women would like while they look at the bras.

Gauthier said they were able to collect them mainly though the power of social media and people sharing their story.

The team includes registered nurse Jan Cibart. Cibart is also from Regina and uses her knowledge to answer questions the women may have.

“What I do is just go with what they want to talk about,” Cibart said.

Jan Cibert (left) and Danielle Gauthier (right) are part of a group taking bras to Africa to talk about women’s health. (Submitted by Danielle Gauthier)

Many want to ask about hypertension, managing diabetes in rural areas, cervical cancer and breast health.

Cibert first started travelling to do work with HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. While working over there, Cibert started to focus more on women’s health because she found that women wanted to learn more.

“They are very strong women, very empowered and we tend to just go with a very loose agenda and follow their lead,” Cibert said.

“It’s really rewarding when we’ve seen some of the changes there,” she said. “Primarily our experience will be in Tanzania this year and I think we’ll see a big change.”

Danielle Gauthier (left) is part of a Saskatchewan group taking bras to Africa to talk to women about their health. (Submitted by Danielle Gauthier)

While chatting with the women, Cibert said they teach her as well.

“We tend to learn as much, for sure, if not more than what we deliver.”

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